Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

June 07, 2007 10:25 ET

CFIA: Canada Conducts Surveillance for Fish Virus in Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Systems

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 7, 2007) - Canada's New Government is collaborating with the governments of Ontario and Quebec in monitoring Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) in the Canadian portions of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River systems.

VHS is an infectious viral disease which can cause illness and death in fish, but has no adverse impact on human health. Up until 2005, the disease was believed to be absent from North American freshwater fish species. Recent detections in the Great Lakes have prompted Canada to undertake surveillance to develop a better understanding of the geographic occurrence of the virus and to identify those species which are being affected.

The surveillance will provide the scientific basis for the development of joint VHS management strategies involving the federal and provincial governments and other interested parties. Elements of these strategies could include movement controls, public and stakeholder education, and biosecurity for the aquaculture industry.

The surveillance program began in May 2007 with sample collection to be done by the provincial partners through the spring, summer and fall at approximately 20 different sites. Results of the surveillance will be publicly communicated at two points: following the collection and testing of samples in the spring/summer and following the collection and testing of samples in the fall.

The principal partners in the survey are the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Quebec's Ministere des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune. The surveillance will be conducted in consultation with officials in the United States where a similar initiative is underway.

For additional information about VHS, visit the CFIA website at:

Contact Information

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    Media Relations